Above are some little thrown bowls in raw clay drying. Once they are completely dry they will be decorated with glaze and fired. I was told that Fes, unlike the rest of Morocco, has stoneware clay, which is much sturdier than earthenware clays found in other locales in the country. Stoneware fires to a much higher temperature than earthenware so it resists chipping and hard use.
Each item is decorated by hand. This glaze, which looks purple in its unfired state, will become the lovely blue of traditional Fes pottery once fired.Here is an example of zellij work. (This was on a wall.)
These little bowls are ready for firing.
I was told that they fire at high temperature for about nine hours, then close the kiln up tightly and let it cool down for three to four days. Because all the oxygen in the kiln is burned off when the kiln is sealed, they are achieving a reduction firing which helps with the durability of the stoneware.
These hand thrown tajines are ready for decorating.
This coffee service will be the Fes blue once it is fired.
This is the blue glaze.
This photo shows individual zellij tiles in the traditional Fes blue. I had no idea that the zellij tiles are chiseled from finished, glazed tiles. Each shape, and there are hundreds, are traced onto the tile and then chiseled out by hand. It is a laborious process and one that requires much skill. And then they put them all together to make the intricate designs that make up traditional zellij tile work.